Our blog series has addressed “You are what you drink” and the importance of vitamins but believe it or not, we’ve never discussed what healthy eating looks like – for you and for your teeth! Time to rectify this terrible oversight with this blog on healthy eating for the whole you!
We are constantly inundated with information on what constitutes healthy eating and we all know, at our core, how important it is. But who can resist the occasional sweet or (if you’re an adult) a beverage or two while out celebrating a significant life event. Well I don’t plan to preach about avoidance today, rather, let’s just take the approach of a high level overview of what we should be eating MOST of the time to help our teeth and bodies flourish.
Strong healthy teeth rely on eating a diet that contains enough whole grains, breads and cereals, lean meats and of course plenty of fruits and vegetables. Essential vitamins and minerals are key to both developing teeth and maintaining them for a lifetime. As a reminder these include:
- Calcium – it goes without saying teeth need calcium! Yogurt, milk, some cheeses, all will help with introducing calcium into your system.
- Vitamins A, C, and D – good for forming tooth enamel and maintaining healthy gums. Sources include mango, spinach, broccoli, cantaloupe, strawberries and tuna.
As for the foods we should be eating, in addition to the above, when it comes to snack time we also need to be aware of what we are popping into our mouth. Candy bars, gum and even some granola bars (those covered in chocolate for example) might seem easy and take the edge of your hunger pains but they are doing you no favours both when it comes to teeth and overall health. Instead think:
- “Grab ‘n Go” snacks like a handful of homemade trail mix with nuts and seeds, a few squares of cubed cheese, peanut butter with whole grain crackers and/or apple slices for “dipping.”
- Plain yogurt is ideal and mix in just a little bit of the fruit of your choice.
- If nuts are an issue due to allergies or you need a peanut butter substitute to make sure your snack is school safe, there are a number of products on the market that are still nutritionally balanced while also being safe to consume around others.
- Drinking milk is not only good for your teeth it’s better than sugary sodas, too much fruit juice (although some is fine of course) or sports drinks which often have tons of sugar in them too. When sending a drink to school – send water. It is a much better choice for so many reasons we could probably do a whole blog on it!
Acidic treats and drinks, if they must be consumed, are best enjoyed at meal times rather than in between. In other words, if you’re going to have a piece of chocolate, have it for dessert, not as a snack in between meal times or before you go to bed. The amount of saliva produced at mealtimes will help wash away some of the sugary badness more so than in between meals when there is less saliva at work.
The Brinkley Dental family has family too. We’re not immune to the siren call of sweets and our own kids sometimes clamor for the “good stuff” hoping we’ll forget about putting veggies on the dinner plate. We get it. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring though and there are tons of parenting blogs out there with a myriad of great ideas on how to make food fun. Like good oral care, healthy eating is really about developing habits that last a lifetime. Start young – make teeth brushing fun and healthy eating a habit not a chore. As always, Brinkley Dental reminds you to “be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”